Dry River Yacht Club has a flair for the dramatic, and the band's new video, "Rape of Persephone," is no exception. The opening shots make it look like the title sequence of a classic Western film, until a woman in Greek garb stands on a ledge.
The video for the song parallels the Greek myth of Persephone, who traveled to the underworld annually, stirring her mother's sorrows, which created the seasons. This ties into the "rape" of nature by humankind. The video was directed by Trevvor Riley, whose name you may recognize because of his work with Boys and Frogs. Plus, there's an eclipse and you get to see DRYC sporting togas. Sweet!
Watch the premiere of "The Rape of Persephone" and learn about what inspired the video after the jump.
Up on the Sun: Tell me about the concept for this video.
Trevvor Riley: Before I even heard the song, I had seen these paintings from Max Parrish. This is how it always happens: I'll hear a band and I'll think of a painter. It wasn't even that song specifically, I just saw them live, and for some reason, I thought of his paintings. There are women or men in Greek or Roman times standing on cliffs and they're in these long, flowing robes and their robes become the mountains.
Henri Benard: One thing I really like about working with artists is, I don't like to give a lot of direction, especially when Dry River works with somebody like Trevvor for a video, or somebody's doing a sign for us, or somebody's doing some album artwork. I think about the music, and that's what my brain goes for. I might be able to think of a cool idea, but I'm not a music video director, I'm not a script writer. To the fact that Trevvor came up with this idea is just super. I was on board right away. I was just like, 'Awesome, dude. This sounds amazing.'
Where was it filmed?
TR: Apache Lake and Saguaro Lake, Superstition Mountains, all over there. Everything in the video is shot up there at some point -- I wanted to do it that way, I wanted to shoot it all out there, I thought that was better. We thought it would be easier if we used a mountain close by and shot the live stuff there, but it wouldn't be the same. The scenes with [the band] in the background wouldn't be the same without us shooting out there. That mountain is beautiful. All of those wide shots are so hard to not include parks or powerlines. HB: Yeah, we had a big struggle with that, trying to find anything open. Human stink is everywhere, it's just everywhere. "It's amazing, look at that stupid powerline out there." It happened numerous times that day. We really had to go far out deep to get some of those shots without powerlines.
TR: So many shots that you see in it are right out of the camera's angle. These things we're talking about, it's in just right the spot. All of that crane stuff like going over the lake, if I cut earlier in that clip, there's trucks parked, but I cut later and now it looks like we're in the middle of the desert, which is impossible to shoot anywhere now without stuff like that. It's just cool that, I don't know what you'd call it, but magic, it's just neat when it feels really barren. It feels like something when, really, it's not. That's the point of a video. No one would know that unless we told them.
What inspired you to model a song after the myth?
HR: This song started with Garnet [the lead singer], actually. She had had a little piano line that we started with and then the band built it up to where it is now as a group. The rape of Persephone is the story of Persephone, who is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. She gets taken by Hades to the underworld, and that's how we have the season of winter, according to Greek mythology. Her return to Earth is springtime and summer, and fall and winter is her return to the underworld.
In the words, Garnet has "let me go back to my mother, Demeter's on the Earth." The whole song rolls with that, and I think Trevvor's take on it is really awesome, with the eclipse and the way the shots happen naturally with shadowing and the shading. We found all these dead places that had been burned by fire, and I saw some of the clips in the video from that. I remember we watching the video for the first time and seeing that huge, dead tree in the video. TR: Comparing the rape of Persephone to the rape of the land by fire. That's what our intention was with that. HB: It gives that winterous, death-y feel, which stays true to the song. At the end, the triumphant return, it goes to this really happy chord progression, C to F -- 1 to 4 -- but they're major chords, and it really creates that change from that real dark minor feel. I love how Trevvor and his crew got a shot of getting us from the actual changing of light over as the song is changing. I really think that makes an impact in the video.
Why did you include an eclipse?
TR: [Persephone] gets taken away, so I wanted that to be a dark time, period. And then I wanted Garnet, which she does in the video, for her to bring back the light with her voice. It works out perfectly. The idea for the eclipse is from the start, when Lauren [Rose Franco, actress who plays Persephone] gets kidnapped by the hand. You saw the hand, which was my hand done up in prosthetic makeup. That was the whole idea, that these strange sun-dried hands grab her, steal her. We don't know what it is -- it was just supposed to be a quick thing. The eclipse would happen, then she would get stolen and then the sun would come back.
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Tell me about your decision not to show much of Persephone herself. TR: My intention was to make the mountain and nature the main character, and you guys are just existing within that. Persephone is featured even less than the band. It almost seems like she's an afterthought. The effects that it's having on nature more than it's having on an individual -- that's why you see the eclipse happening in nature and not on her.